Katherine Ann (Kass) Lear
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Katherine (Kass) Ann Lear

Katherine (Kass) Ann Lear died September 26, 2020. She was born in Bellevue, Nebraska on May 2, 1958, one of five children of Bob and Theresa Lear. The family moved frequently, following Bob's career in the Air Force. After Bob retired from the military in 1972, the family settled in Hollister, Missouri, where Kass graduated as valedictorian of her high school class in 1976. She earned a full "Pershing" scholarship to Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri for her undergraduate degree, and completed a Doctor of Medicine degree at the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO. Kass eventually moved to Springfield, MO.

Kass considered her greatest accomplishment to be bringing up an intelligent, articulate, thoughtful, and loving daughter, Zealon Gentry-Lear, who has just started her freshman year of college on the west coast. She certainly did raise a wonderful daughter, but she achieved so much more in her lifetime. She loved practicing medicine, including working as a private practitioner, assisting the LGBTQIA+ community and rape and abuse victims, as a company doctor at City Utilities and Paul Mueller, and at the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield. She consistently spoke publicly on issues of health and women's rights. She was also a master gardener and had a "hobby" of fixing everything.

Here is an excerpt from Kass' will. This is the lively, teasing Kass that we will remember: "Hey, Gang! Now that I'm dead, the truth can finally be told. I was really a black, lesbian Harley Davidson rider, and I only pretended to be 'middle America' all these years. HA! Really just kidding, but I didn't want you to take all this death stuff too seriously.… I really want to come back as a cat, and loll in the sunshine and roll around in people's freshly planted gardens…"

Kass, you have impacted all of our lives, showing us that it's good to question the status quo, to be kind and generous to others. There was no better mother, sister, doctor, gardener, or fix-it woman on the planet. We will miss you dearly.

There will be no funeral. The family is planning a virtual Celebration of Life on the afternoon of Saturday November 28 to share stories of Kass. To participate, please email (rememberingmamakass@gmail.com) by Wednesday, November 18 for more information.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Harmony House, Rare Breed, or The Kitchen, in her name. These organizations all assist people in need in Springfield. Even better, in Kass' memory do something kind for someone less fortunate.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in News-Leader from Oct. 19 to Oct. 25, 2020.
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by The Springfield News-Leader
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6 entries
November 21, 2020
Dearest Kass, I have missed you from the last day we spoke. I remember every word. Since then, you have never been far from my thoughts. I wish you knew how much I admired you. Thank you for your friendship, you and Martha, back in Hollister when I felt like such and stranger and out of place.
Rose Ominski
November 2, 2020
I will always remember my many long conversations with Kass. She was so very very proud of her daughter, Zealon. Also, she was proud that she made it to retirement at the Federal Medical Center. I only wish she were still here to enjoy that retirement. My consolation is knowing that she is at peace now. My condolences to all the family, especially Zealon.
Kay Johnson
October 28, 2020
I worked with Dr. Lear at the federal prison. I only knew Dr. Lear for a short time before she retired but WOW, she was a remarkable woman!! She was such a loving, caring, courageous person with a beautiful heart and a captivating personality. She will be missed!! Our thoughts and prayers are with the family!
Kimberly Parrish
October 27, 2020
Kass and I were very close friends her last year in Missouri all the way thru Med School. She was one of the most important women in my life. I grew and changed much while we were friends. We fell apart due to yukky stuff between us. I started to think of her today, to see if bygones can be bygones? Googled Kass to see if she still was in Springfield. Too my surprise to find that she had moved. (Kass would have liked that pun) She also passed away on my birthday. Irony! I'm wondering if someone wouldn't mind connecting with me? Thank you.

May Kass's memory be a blessing for all her family and friends. Robin Fox (fatdogfox@gmail.com)
Robin Fox
October 25, 2020
Zealon, I am so terribly sorry for your loss. Your mother was one in a million, a ray of sunshine and beautiful energy—just like you. She was so incredibly proud of you and knew you would change the world (I agree). I send you here love and big hugs.
Carrie Aho
October 25, 2020
In reaIn reading what Cathy wrote that sounded just like her I got to see her a few years ago at the At the class reunion it was so good to see her she looks exactly the same she has she never changed even though if we weren’t the best of friends we were friends and I know the world is going to miss all of her accomplishments and what she would’ve done my prayers are for the family and to say hello to John who I was good friends with take care
Phyllis Green (Jones)
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